By PETE SIMONCINI
The Oakdale Mustang varsity softball team earned a 2-2 split in four games in the Nor Cal Classic Tournament played in Tracy, April 13 through 15 during the Oakdale High School Spring Break.
Said Mustang head coach, Larry Loger: “We had a couple of tough losses. The tournament hosts many of the top teams in Central and Northern California, so we always use it to prepare us for the playoffs.”
In the opening game on April 13, the Mustangs faced a perennial powerhouse, the Bulldogs of Vacaville High School. An incredible game ensued with the Mustangs dropping a 1-0 nailbiter. Senior Delainey Everett worked six-and-a-third innings giving up one run on two hits, while striking out 11, walking two, and hitting one batter. Both Everett and centerfielder Bailey Peterson had two hits on the day while Jayci Volonte had a single, accounting for the five Mustang hits. The only run of the game was unearned and came in the bottom of the seventh inning on a walk and an error that scored a Vacaville runner from first base.
In the second game on Thursday, the Mustangs crushed the Crushers of Napa’s Vintage High School by the score of 8-0. After scoreless first and second innings, the Mustangs came out with a vengeance in the bottom of the third stanza. Peterson kept up her strong offensive play from the Vacaville game with a single to lead off the inning. Volonte reached on an error by the Vintage pitcher, advancing Peterson to second. The two runners advanced a base each on an infield out by Taylor Suarez. Presley Barnes then singled to center, scoring Peterson. On the play, the Vintage centerfielder bobbled the hard-hit ball, allowing Volonte to also score, making it 2-0 in favor of the Mustangs. In their half of the fifth inning, the Mustangs tallied five scores. Suarez reached on an error, Barnes singled, scoring Suarez and Delainey Everett tripled, scoring Barnes. Marley Leighton then singled, scoring Everett to make the score 5-0. Kylee Joseph followed with a walk and Katy Thomasson singled scoring Leighton. The throw from the centerfielder was misplayed by the catcher allowing Joseph and Thomasson to score, after which the umpires invoked the mercy rule, which was an 8-run lead after five innings had been played in that particular tournament. Mustang pitcher Raegen Everett was dominant in the game allowing but two hits while striking out nine batters, hitting one with a pitch, and walking none.
In Saturday’s opening game, the Mustangs took the measure of the usually tough Clovis West Eagles by the score of 7-0. Once again, Delainey Everett was dominant from the circle, slinging a one-hit shutout, while striking out eight and walking none. Offensively, the Mustangs pounded out eight hits in the game. Leading the way was Volonte (a double and a single with three runs scored), Barnes (two singles and a double and 2 RBI), Delainey Everett (a double in three trips and 2 RBI), Raegen Everett (one for three), and Morgan Merzon (a single and 2 RBI in two trips to the plate). The Mustangs jumped on the Clovis West pitcher for four runs in the bottom half of the opening stanza and then coasted the rest of the way behind Everett’s overpowering pitching, adding to their lead with two runs in the second and one more in the fourth.
In Saturday’s nightcap, the Mustangs, playing as visitors, took a one-run lead into the bottom of the sixth inning before Notre Dame High School from Salinas took advantage of a triple and a Mustang error to score two runs. The Mustangs went quietly in the top of the seventh to seal the 2-1 victory for Notre Dame. Raegen Everett worked the entire game for Oakdale, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, while scattering five hits, striking out eight and walking none. The Mustangs only managed two hits in the game, singles by Volonte and Thomasson. In the third inning, Peterson walked to lead off the inning. She was erased as Volonte hit into a fielder’s choice. Briley Everett followed with a walk, placing runners at first and second. Both runners advanced on a passed ball and then Volonte scored the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly by Barnes.
This week, the 12-5 Mustangs resume Valley Oak League play on the road, traveling to play the Kimball Jaguars in Tracy on Tuesday and the Sierra Timberwolves in Manteca on Thursday.